I was talking today with a writer friend about how our favorite stories are the ones that reveal some transcendent virtue in the hearts of people. A virtue that seems to resonate with us so deeply that we admire them for giving up their worldly comfort for it. True bravery, or love, or friendship despite the odds, perseverance.
And I was also thinking about my little vice tonight. That thing I do because I like it when no one is around to judge me. And I think, what harm does it do? It doesn’t hurt anybody.
(We all got those things, I think.)
And I’ve been thinking a little bit about the nature of sin. How could my little vice be wrong if it hurts no one?
And I don’t think there is a distinct line that when you go a little too far into your vice it suddenly bursts into sin. But I started thinking about this life as a movie. Maybe every time I consume my cozy pleasures, I am forsaking the potential to demonstrate a transcendent virtue of the story God is trying to write. I am the actor that missed the pre-scripted lines that would have made a way more beautiful story on cosmic television. And angels and people gone before us all slap their heads and say, “Uhh! Earthlings.”
If I were to give up what-I-want-just-because-I-want-it and instead practice self discipline, or perseverance–something that makes no sense in this world if there is no large plan at play–even if I could do this in my public life, I could be bringing God more fully to earth. I would be doing something that makes no sense except if God were real and guiding my life. Hearts would ring and resonate with the thing that gives deeper life.
I want to be able to give up my pleasures to instead become an exhibition of God’s transcendent virtues, telling a story greater than just biology and survival.
I want to exhibit God’s kingdom to this world by doing what only makes sense if it exists. I want to desire that more.
But it’s so hard. Sometimes, God, I just can’t picture the cameras rolling. And it’s so much easier to live in this kingdom right before me.
And indulge in my quiet little vice again.
Raw Spoon, 12-8-16